Roughly seven-in-ten U.S. adults (72%) say they have read a book in the past 12 months in any format, a figure that has remained largely unchanged since 2012, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2019. Print books remain the most popular format for reading, with 65% of adults saying they had read a print book in the past year. Digital books are still popular with readers, 25% of Americans say they have read one in the past year and there has been a small uptick in the number of people who listen to audiobooks, a 6% increase.
Despite some growth in certain digital formats, it remains the case that relatively few Americans only consume digital books (which include audiobooks and e-books) to the exclusion of print. Some 37% of Americans say they read only print books, while 28% read in these digital formats and also read print books. Just 7% of Americans say they only read books in digital formats and have not read any print books in the past 12 months. (About a quarter of Americans haven’t read a book in any format in the past year.)
The share of college graduates who have listened to an audiobook in the past 12 months has increased 7% since 2018. About one-third of college graduates (34%) have done this in the past 12 months, compared with 27% in 2018. – Similarly, the share of adults with an annual household income of $75,000 or more who have listened to an audiobook has increased 7 percentage points since 2018 (30% vs. 23%).
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.